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Pandemic forces St. Pete Pride to cancel 2020 parade, celebration

Organizers had pushed the summer event to the fall. But the coronavirus has caused too much uncertainty for the LGBTQ parade and celebration.

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Pete Pride announced Thursday it has canceled its 2020 celebration because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move comes a month after the organization announced it would postpone the June celebration — billed as the largest Pride event in Florida — until the fall.

“However, the level of uncertainty and lack of clear guidance from experts prompted the decision to cancel as the Board deemed the health and safety of our community, both near and far, most important,” according to a statement organizers posted to St. Pete Pride’s website.

St. Pete Pride, which bills itself as the largest LGBTQ Pride celebration in Florida, was originally scheduled to take place June 26-28. Organizers estimate that the event draws upwards of 200,000 people to the Saturday parade, Sunday festival and other events.

Related: St. Pete Pride reschedules for the fall over coronavirus concerns

Tampa Pride, originally set for late March, hoped to throw its parade in late May. But earlier this month, organizers announced it will instead resume in 2021.

Other Pride celebrations around the country have also been canceled, including New York, the epicenter of the virus in the U.S., and Seattle and San Francisco. St. Pete Pride said 2020 event sponsors will automatically apply next year.

“While I am saddened by the cancellation of this year’s St. Pete Pride, I respect the decision made by the event’s organizers given the inability to plan such events in the face of this unprecedented uncertainty," St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a statement. “St. Pete Pride is one of the best and biggest LGBTQ+ events in the nation and will certainly outlast any challenges that come its way.”